Sunday, July 13, 2003
DOLMEN AND KOREA: Spent some time on Kanghwa Island, a place that is entwined with a great deal of Korean history. Visited one of the most famous dolmen on the island. Was informed that Korea is known as “the land of dolmen” and read the claim that Korea is home to something like half of all the dolmen in the world. The large stone structure was located in a small park in the middle of nowhere on the island. Nearby were recreations of a Neolithic house, two dolmen found elsewhere in Korea, a Stonehenge megalith, and an Easter Island statue. Clearly an attempt to situate Korea within a wider stone age context. What I find interesting is that there appears to no effort to demonstrate a connection between the dolmen builders and the Koreans of today. The connection is assumed but how are we to know that the ancestors of the Koreans didn’t come into the peninsula and annihilate, overwhelm, or completely absorb the dolmen builders? The point is, I think, that Korea had a Neolithic (and Paleolithic) people, something Japanese-era archaeologists and historians sought to deny.